Here is the fly pattern sheet for the Iris Caddis.

Iris Caddis - Tan |




Daiichi 1180 or TMC 100, #12 – 20


8/0 or 6/0, color to match body


Amber or gold Zelon


Zelon or Hare’s Ear dubbing – olive, tan, amber, or black


White Zelon


Hare’s ear dubbing


  1. Tie on shuck or zelon and take a couple of wraps down the hook shank past the barb. Use the remainder of zelon to help create an even body. Trim zelon about hook gape in length.
  2. Dub a body forward about ¾ of the hook shank.
  3. Create a loop of zelon and tie securely on top of hook. It should extend back to the bend of the hook. Trim excess.
  4. Coarsely dub the thorax with hare’s ear.
  5. Whip finish

Note: The finished fly should appear “scraggly”. Avoid the temptation to trim too many fibers for a clean look. The fly imitates caddis pupa emerging in the surface film.


  1. Hello John, thank you for the excellent video on the Iris Caddis. Have you been successful on the lower Deschutes with this pattern?


    1. Hey Bill – I don’t fish the Deschutes much anymore. If I do, it’s during salmonfly and golden stone hatches. I don’t see any reason the IRIS caddis wouldn’t work when caddis are present.


  2. I have had good success using the Iris Caddis in the “hang down” method. I discovered the method for this fly by accident when I was fishing my favorite late evening spot on the lower D. I was wading the slick rocks back to the boat, letting the fly drag below me in the current. A really big redside grabbed it, jumped 3 times, and proceeded to break me off on the vegetation on the bottom of the river. I tried that method the next time I fished there with similar results – several fish took the fly on the hang down, including some beauties. I have continued to do this when guiding, and some of my beginner clients have been very successful, just chucking it out in the current, swinging it, and letting it hang down for a few seconds. Try it the next time you’re fishing a big caddis hatch just before dark!

    1. Ron

      Thanks for your comment.

      I’ve never fished the Iris Caddis subsurface intentionally. It was designed as a dry fly. The Iris Caddis imitates what Craig & John describe in their Fly Patterns of Yellowstone book, the stillborn phase of caddis. Caddis are trapped in their pupal shuck and can be found floating in the surface film. The white wing provides an easy way to see the fly as well as imitates the wing profile of the trapped pupa.


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